Shop-Made Loose Tenon Jig

Here’s a compact jig that simplifies the process of making mortises with a palm router.

My palm router probably has just as many joinery miles on it as it does for profiling and shaping. Fitted with a straight bit, I can make dadoes, rabbets, grooves — and mortises. The sticking point is coming up with an accurate way to control the router. The solution is to make a jig. I’ve made mortising jigs (or templates) that have ranged from quick one-offs to complex adjustable gadgets. They have all worked. What I dislike is the setup. The jig needs to be clamped in the correct location on the workpiece (which is also clamped in place) prior to every cut. All that clamping and releasing adds up. The jig you see here tackles the issue by working more like a biscuit joiner, or Festool Domino joiner. The router is attached to the jig and used like a hand-held power tool. The router moves forward, back and side to side on a pair of carriages and guide rods. A fence in conjunction with a series of stops controls the location and the size of the mortise. The challenge is making a jig that’s versatile to work on a variety of applications without letting it get too big and cumbersome to use well. In the plans, you’ll see how this jig checks all boxes, plus you'll find out how to integrate the jig into a joinery technique.

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What You Get:

  • 11 pages of step-by-step instructions
  • 24 full-color illustrations, photos and exploded views
  • Materials list & Retail sources for hardware and supplies
  • Retail sources for project supplies

Product Recommendations

We don't have any links to project supplies and hardware for this particular project yet, but here are some other products that might be of interest to you. (We may receive commission when you use our affiliate links. However, this does not impact our recommendations.)

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Titebond III Wood Glue

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Universal Fence Clamps